A person may desire to make a gift of cash from their estate to their children and grandchildren and, at the same time, take advantage of gift tax exclusions and lifetime exemptions. Another consideration is whether the child or grandchild has matured to a point where a person would feel comfortable turning over a large sum of money to them in order to minimize gift taxes and provide peace of mind. A Heritage Trust can be set up to own the money that is given to the child or grandchild.
In this way, a person can make gifts of up to $12,000 for each spouse into a Heritage Trust to build up a college fund for the beneficiary. If the beneficiary needs any of the money for his or her health, education, maintenance, or support, the beneficiary merely has to go to the trustee and ask for the money. A Heritage Trust can be a viable alternative to the well known "custodial account" set up at a savings and loan association or with a broker. Any money put into a custodial account will automatically be distributed outright to the beneficiary child when the child reaches the age of 21; the Heritage Trust can be customized to make the distributions at any age you choose.